Welcome to Confessions Of, a weekly series where Task & Purpose’s James Clark solicits hilarious, embarrassing, and revealing stories from troops and vets about their job, deployments, and time in service.
A new trailer for the upcoming installment in America’s favorite human-flaying Predator franchise just dropped, and considering this R-rated action flick starring a big ugly space hunter doesn’t hit the screens until Sept. 14, it felt premature to “review” anything.
On a muggy Tuesday afternoon in August, Staff Sgt. Justin Mclnald, a U.S. Army soldier with the Mid-Atlantic Recruiting Battalion, was piloting a government-issued Dodge minivan through northeast New Jersey, giving me a tour of his sector, when a man suddenly appeared in the road. He was tall and sinewy, wearing a bright red do-rag, and he had a pistol tucked into his waistband. Or at least that’s what I discerned through the fabric of his dirty white tank top. It could’ve been a water gun, or a banana. Whatever it was, he was clutching it with one hand while motioning for us to stop with the other.
It had only been a few weeks, maybe a month, since Jose Camacho had been relieved of his prison shackles and stepped off a U.S. immigration bus into the dusty streets of Ciudad Juárez to set about building a new life south of the border. That’s when an old friend showed up. Not a friend, really — someone he knew. A guy he’d met on the inside. “Let’s get a beer,” he suggested. Camacho didn’t drink anymore, and he told the guy so. But the guy was persistent. Squinting over the guy’s shoulder, Camacho could see someone else in the car, a man he didn’t know, but he recognized the tattoos. This wasn't an invitation.
On Jan. 20, the day he swore into office and assumed the role of commander-in-chief, President Donald Trump vowed to rebuild America’s “depleted” armed forces. Now, the military is holding the new president to his word. Last week, Pentagon officials delivered to Congress a plan for increasing the defense budget by more than $30 billion to acquire new jets, armored, vehicles, improved training, and more, according to the Associated Press.